The project involves the installation of three large shade sails and the design, manufacture and installation of 10 large steel supporting columns, explained Graeme Chuck, Director – Design at Shades Asia.
“Shades, in collaboration with its Australian structural engineering consultants, designed steel columns up to nine metres tall capable of withstanding the significant loads imposed by the weight of the sails and the loads from wind and rain.
“The client naturally insisted on 100% safety compliance, which included the necessity for computer modelling of expected loads, adequate footings design and certification of all welding joints in the columns. In addition, highest-quality marine-grade epoxy paint finish was specified,” he noted.
To ensure these standards could be achieved Shades chose to construct the columns in Phuket using its long-time supplier Kitrungruang Co Ltd. Shades and Kitrungruang have worked together on many projects in Phuket and are both pleased to be expanding our relationship to a large export order, Mr Chuck added.
“Steel of the required quality and grade was trucked to Phuket from Pacific Pipe in Bangkok. The working space required to fabricate all 10 columns simultaneously challenged workshop space available at both companies’ facilities, and it was decided instead to build a temporary workshop on vacant land at Cape Yamu,” he said.
“Kitrungruang organised one of only three appropriately certified welding inspectors in Thailand to oversee welding techniques and dye-check every single weld. Shades own painting team then completed the required five-coat two-part epoxy paint system to the competed columns,” Mr Chuck added.
The columns were loaded onto trucks at the Cape Yamu site last Friday (Mar 24) and will be transported to Phnom Penh on 12-metre trailers for installation in early April.
Explaining how the Phnom Penh contract came to fruition, Mr Chuck told The Phuket News, “Over the past 12 years Shades has established a network of agents throughout Southeast Asia and beyond with whom we partner on projects which come to us through their own marketing efforts or via our own website and social media channels.
“Our agents are established and highly-regarded businesses in their local building and supply industries, which allows us to offer full-package design-fabricate-ship-install services to many Asian and Indian Ocean locations.
“In this case our Cambodian agent was able to leverage off projects we have already completed in Cambodia to attract and secure this international school shading project. Large shade projects like this one involve serious issues of safety and longevity, and a major attraction to this and other ‘public’ projects is our engineering design service, backed by our ability to utilise professional structural engineering input from our Australian engineering partners who are specialists in fabric architecture,” he said.
Attracting business in markets outside of Thailand has allowed ShadesAsia to continue to expand not only its business volume but also the firm’s degree of expertise and product range, Mr Chuck noted.
“Every business enjoys expanding its revenue base without a commensurate increase in overhead and operating costs, which is something the export side of our business has helped us achieve,” he explained.
“And on a more personal level, every single member of our Team Shades takes great pride in the fact that we are able to utilise our ‘home-grown’ talents and experience to generate export business not just for the company, but for Phuket and Thailand.
“Added to that is the thrill of bringing our suppliers with us on this journey, in this case Kitrungruang Co Ltd, a local Phuket engineering business with which it has been our pleasure to work with for many years,” Mr Chuck added.
Looking forward, Shades Asia will continue to focus on Phuket and Thailand as core markets for the immediate future, but have eyes firmly on export-based opportunities.
“Our immediate goal is to retain our focus on the core values upon which we have built the business over 12 years – world-class quality products and services. To that end we will continue to refine and expand our product line, and continue to work with off-shore based agents to have our products marketed and made available where now they are not,” Mr Chuck said.
Regional marketing will remain “a critical plank” to that strategy of growth, he added.
“Our marketing reach will be expanded, but the message remains constant – the Asian market is demanding the same high standards of design, product and service as other previously more mature markets, and companies such as ours recognize this and have grown in response to it. Fortunately for us our product tends to speak for itself, and every project acts as a billboard in attracting new business,” Mr Chuck said.